AUSTIN, Texas — Although other COVID-19 metrics for the Austin area are moving in a positive direction, ICU capacity is still an issue for the 11-county area surrounding the city.
Trauma Service Area Region-O is the regional hospital designation for the 11-county Austin area. Dr. Desmar Walkes, the Austin-Travis County health authority, said hospitals and ICUs are still at critical levels.
Over the past month, COVID-19 patients in Austin-area ICUs have decreased nearly 21%, from 230.6 patients on Aug. 27 to 181.1 on Sept. 27. The 7-day average for the number of people on ventilators per day is 120 as of Sept. 27.
While ICU capacity is still concerning to officials, they said other statistics such as hospital admissions and positivity rates are decreasing, which prompted the move to Stage 4.
There are currently 440 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and the 7-day moving average for new hospital admissions is 34. The positivity rate, or the weekly number of people who test positive out of the total number of people tested, has dropped 44% from 14.8% to 8.3% from the peak in early August.
On Aug. 5, Austin moved to Stage 5 and changed the guidelines in light of the delta variant. Stage 5 and Stage 4 do not differ a lot in terms of the guidance for Austin residents.
In Stage 4, partially or unvaccinated people should avoid gatherings, travel, dining and shopping unless essential and should wear a mask when conducting essential activities. Fully vaccinated people should wear a mask when participating in indoor gatherings, traveling, dining or shopping and should wear a mask for outdoor gatherings if they cannot socially distance themselves.
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